Beale Street Music Festival

Page was last changed Apr 30th, 2012 @ 15:52:30

Beale Street Music Festival takes place every year in Memphis, Tennessee, hosting a wide variety of music, from rock to folk and blues. The festival marks the beginning of the Memphis in May festival.

Featuring over 60 acts on 4 stages in scenic Tom Lee Park where Beale Street meets the Mississippi, offers music lovers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the art form they love best.

It is sometimes referred to as the Mardi Gras of the South, with people often stating "You haven't partied on Beale Street, 'Till you've partied at The Beale Street Music Festival".


2012 line-up, rumours, news and our predictions.

This year's highlights include Lupe Fiasco, Evanescence, Megadeath, Florence And The machine, My Morning Jacket, Al Green, Black Lips, Pitbull, Jane's Addiction, The Cult, Alison Kraus And Union Station, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wiz Khalifa, Bush, Coheed And Cambria, Black Stone Cherry, and many many more

2011 line-up and past line-up highlights.

Jimmie Vaughan with Lou Ann Barton, John Mellencamp, Bettye LaVette, Godsmack, Stone Temple Pilots, Ke$ha, Cee Lo Green, Buckcherry, Jason Mraz, Flaming Lips, MGMT, Mumford and Sons and B.o.B.


The festival is a celebration of Memphis’s Blues Heritage. This produces a crowd of old and young, with some who have been coming for over 30 years, altogether they create an exciting and unique atmosphere.

Known as one of the largest street parties in the United States, the festival aims to symbolize everything that Blues music was born from.

It is advisable not to spend all your time in the park watching the big acts, as a lot of the more memorable performances happen on the corners of Beale Street, which is the best place to really soak up the feeling of the festival.

History and facts

Beale Street Festival has been going since 1977, but its roots go back to 1800’s when African American Blues musicians used to travel the country to play on Beale Street.

The Beale Street Music Festival has been nominated for a Concert Industry Award for the Music Festival of The Year, and was named by Playboy Magazine as one of the Fun 2000 events - a "must-do list" for the new millennium. The Beale Street Music Festival also hosted media such as VH1, Rolling Stone, MTV, Billboard, Cashbox, Pollstar, National Geographic, the BBC and dozens of other national publications, international television networks and blues publications

Music stages and other entertainment

The music takes place on various stages and in tents around the street while the shops, clubs and restaurants of the street provide the rest of the entertainment.

Festival Legendary Appearances

Every so often the festival attracts certain characters who attend every year and start to build a loved reputation amongst the revellers.

There is the "Pimp Daddy" who every year has been seen posing for every photo opportunity going, there are tales of the "Free Advice" man, who hands out the best heartfelt advice he can offer.

Amongst this there are the usual street jugglers, singers, bead throwers, leprechauns, acrobatic displays and much more at an event "where (almost) anything goes!"

On Site Information

VIP tickets are available and they include:

  • 3 Day entry to Beale Street Music Festival.
  • Access to raised and covered viewing platforms at all the three outdoor stages and private area with stanchions in the Blues Tent.
  • Seating is first come, first served.
  • Access to complimentary light snacks, water and soft drinks.
  • Five alcoholic beverages (beer/wine) per day - 21 and up.
  • Private restrooms at outdoor stages.
  • Official Beale Street Music Poster autographed by artist, George Hunt.
  • In/out festival privileges all weekend.
  • Nearby parking is available for an additional $100 charge.

Food and drink

There is a huge variety of places to eat and drink on Beale Street, with unique clubs such as BB King's and even more unique drinks such as the diver you won't struggle to find something to suit you. Memphis is also the Barbecue capital of the US so don't miss out.


The Organisers recommend getting a drink at "Wet Willies", as "When you walk in, the place looks like a Dairy Queen because of all the frozen drink machines, but don't be fooled! Their "Call a cab" is one of the strongest drinks to be had on Beale. If you drink 2 or more, you're on your way to trouble!"

They also recommend getting a "diver" drink at Silky's, served in a large yellow bucket, they gained their nickname because "if you drink one you will go down".


Food outlet's recommended are Pig On Beale, which offers the best in genuine Memphis BBQ, The World Famous Dyer's Burgers, whose name states their speciality and Texas De Brazil, which is a more sophisticated restaurant for those who ashamedly don't want to try the food that Memphis is famous for.

Camping and other accommodation

There is no camping at the event, but Memphis has an array of hostels and hotels which tend to fill up, so book in advance.

Location and travel.

The festival is located on the historic Beale Street, which is well known in its contribution to blues music. The 1.8 mile long street is located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, which is easily located once in the city.

If flying it is advisable to go to Memphis International Airport, where there are bus services which go towards Beale Street.

Of course if you want to get really the American heritage experience, you can get there by canoe travelling down the Mississippi River!

Beale Street Festival Contacts & Tickets

For the Official website, click here.